What to do when a problem employee resigns

A lucky escape or a ticking time-bomb?

I came across a situation recently when an adviser told an employer not to accept a resignation as the employee was undergoing a disciplinary procedure and there was a risk of a constructive dismissal claim. The situation quickly degenerated into the employer demanding the employee come to the disciplinary hearing, and the employee refusing on the grounds that he had left and was no longer an employee. This impasse continued for 3 weeks until the employer and their adviser finally “caved in” and accepted the resignation.

I don’t know about you, but I have better things to do with my life!

In my opinion I would always be guided by the following principles

a)      Consider if they leave they ore outside your organisation and you can get on with running your business

b)      The likelihood of a claim to an employment tribunal is greatly increased by management dithering so act decisively

Let’s look at two possible scenarios:

1. The employee resigns saying they want to move on and makes no mention of any disagreement between you and them. If they are genuine, then accepting their resignation is the quickest and easiest way of bringing the issue to a conclusion. If however they are being deceitful and they are planning to make a claim for constructive dismissal once you have accepted their resignation, then the very mature of their resignation weakens their case. This always presumes there is not a massive trail of correspondence where they accuse you of everything from breaching their contract of employment to the collapse of English Test Cricket!

So even if the employee was off sick or subject to a disciplinary hearing, accepting the resignation is probably the most sensible thing to do. Indeed refusing to accept the resignation could turn a perfectly amicable end to a relationship into a row which nobody wins. It may also raise in the mind of the employee that you have something to hide and it might be worth making a claim, where previously they had not even thought to do so.

2. The employee resigns claiming you have acted unreasonably, leaving him or her with no option that to resign with immediate effect. Even in these circumstances it is not always wise to refuse  to accept the resignation as they are likely to make a claim anyway, so we might us will get on with it and not prolong the agony.

If someone has resigned from your business and you are worried about it, give us a call.